Fake police Facebook page shut down; creator not found

A fake Facebook page purporting to be from the Dunedin police has been shut down.

Dunedin police launched a page in February last year, which was now ''liked'' by more than 10,000 people.

Dunedin Clutha Waitaki prevention manager Inspector Mel Aitken said police had become aware over the past fortnight that a fake page had been set up.

''Clearly, it is a concern when a page such as this is created, as it can have a damaging impact on our brand and the information posted is not authorised by police.''

She confirmed police had contacted Facebook and the offending site had been removed.

Police had not located the creator of the site.

''Our priority is that our Facebook followers receive correct, reliable information and/or advice directly from police.

''The risk is that this page - and other fake pages - could publish incorrect information and advice, which would be attributed to the New Zealand police,'' Insp Aitken said.

The Facebook page had been ''hugely successful'', but she noted it required ''resources, time and an understanding of your audience''. The page often attracted a strong response from people and that was reflected in the comments, she said.

''One of the areas of concern we are working to address more effectively is the likelihood of attracting negative comments on the page.

''We have community guidelines encouraging visitors to use the page constructively and will take action against inappropriate behaviour on our page.''

Recent Facebook comments raised concerns over people lampooning a wanted man's mug shot.

 

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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